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Plato’s Closet Albany: A Sustainable Place to Shop on a Budget

By Shannon Crowley | March 1, 2021

Looking for trendy, sustainable clothes on a college budget? Plato’s Closet Albany is the place for you.

The Albany location of the secondhand retail chain, Plato’s Closet, is a consignment shop that offers brands such as Champion, Vans and Nike up to 70% off.

The website describes Plato’s Closet as a place to, “buy and sell gently used clothes, shoes and accessories so you can recycle the items you no longer wear and get paid on the spot.”

The previous location was on Wolf Road for 14 years and in 2018, the new brother-in-law owners, Gary Spadaro, a Siena College alumnus, and Phil Kelley, a UAlbany alumnus, took over.

In 2020, Spadaro and Kelley decided to move the location to a new area, but right before signing the new lease, the store was looted amidst the individually motivated riots, unrelated to the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement, during summer 2020. Since they had not yet signed the lease at the time of the looting, they decided to find their new location, on Central Avenue, which they opened in August 2020.

Plato's Closet Albany Owners Phil Kelley and Gary Spadaro. Courtesy of: Phil Kelley

UAlbany, Siena and Saint Rose students are Plato‘s Closet’s most frequent customers. “College kids are the backbone of this store, so the new location is much better for traffic,” said Kelley. There are lots of other shops and restaurants in the same plaza as the new location, whereas at the previous location, the Plato’s Closet was the draw to the area.

Both owners agreed they chose the perfect time for a move, because the COVID-19 pandemic had already put a hold on school shopping. “We missed out on back-to-school shopping because we changed locations this year, but there was really no back-to-school shopping to begin with,” said Spadaro.

Spadaro and Kelley strive to make the environment in this store fun and exciting. They are always updating their social media with new pieces and their prices, along with possible outfit combinations. The owners are always looking for help, and love hiring local students to work.

Looking for fashion show clothes, musical props and costumes? Plato’s is the place to seek help. The owners want to help out the community in any way possible, sticking to their buy, sell, trade mantra, allowing everyone to use the store like a personal closet.

They have helped kids find last minute date/party outfits, bought clothes from college kids looking for extra money to go out on a Friday night, and are always willing to help out with any fundraisers clubs or schools are having.

Plato’s Closet wants to help everyone look presentable, and when leaving their Albany location, you will definitely understand why the motto is, “Look good. Do good. Feel good.”


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